As I have talked about before with 3 children I have been on both sides of the “feeding your baby” spectrum. With my older 2 they were formula fed and my youngest was breastfed for 18 months. I know the challenges that come from formula feeding on a tight budget (my oldest) and wanting to breastfeed but with a baby that didn’t want to and asking for help and not getting it because it would have been cheaper on the budget (my son) and then having all the help and support I needed to be successful at breastfeeding (my youngest). With my oldest breastfeeding was not really on my radar, I did have a friend who was very pro breastfeeding who I talked with but there was no support at the hospital and had I hole heartedly wanted to nurse her the help was not there to do so but with my son I wanted to. I wanted to give it a go and cried often because I was home alone with a baby trying and calling the doctor was no help nor was the hospital staff when I was there and so I threw in the towel. While I had many challenges with the hospital I delivered my youngest at I will give it to them that when I asked for help nursing I got it, they brought in every cream, nipple shield, and book they could find to help me with MY choice. They gave me the option of formula with out being over bearing as to what I wanted to try with nursing like the hospital did with my other two.
For me personally no matter how a baby is fed is not an issue but when the mother wants to breastfeed and the support is not there I see that as a BIG problem. When we have babies each one is different and comes with different challenges and when you are wanting to breastfed or even just try and you are told just give them formula it makes it very challenging and then you end up like me crying along with your baby trying to navigate the world with out a clue and then feeling like you have failed when you can’t do what you wanted to. We are fortunate in the United States that those of us who can’t or don’t want to breastfed our babies have the option of formula, and if we can not afford it there is WIC to help us.
I was shocked to learn that only 6.7 % of births in the US occur in “Baby-Friendly” facilities that meet international guidelines for supporting breastfeeding. These facilities can be found here! 6.7% is a crazy low number, supporting breastfeeding is not just about supporting that type of feeding it is about supporting the mothers who make that choice. We should all have support no matter how we choose to feed our babies!
But what about the countries that do not have those other methods of help to feed their babies? Then their babies are hungry and have the worst possible outcome we could imagine, losing their lives!
In areas that poverty is a daily obstacle to overcome helping mothers feed their babies with breastfeeding support I believe is essential. I know that in the United States we run into this at times to. We have hospitals that are not breast feeding friendly and don’t give the mom the support she would need to breastfeed if that is the choice she makes and that needs to change in my opinion as well. Babies are gifts and as a group around the world we should all be fighting to give babies every shot they can have to survive no matter how they are fed! Moms should have the support they need no matter how they choose to feed their babies and I think it is unfair that support is lacking in so many places.
The Save the Children Foundation is striving to do just that, save the children, the babies and help the moms. They have released a report on the barriers that Mother’s face and it was very interesting for me to read. See the report here
Here are 4 main points of the Save the Children’s report that I see as very important:
1) Mothers everywhere should have access to information that allows them to make an informed choice about breastfeeding, and the support they need to breastfeed should they choose to.
2) Breastfeeding is critical to preventing malnutrition and saving children’s lives in the developing world. Breastfeeding immediately after birth could help save 830,000 newborn babies from dying a year, and exclusive breastfeeding for six months could save even more babies and children.
3) In the U.S. there are benefits to breastfeeding, but it is not the same matter of life and death and mothers should feel supported in their choice, whatever it is. However, U.S. moms who choose to breastfeed don’t always get the support—including in hospitals or the workplace –that they need.
4) Save the Children’s new report finds there are four major barriers to breastfeeding and we need to support moms who choose to breastfeed to overcome these – especially in developing countries where it can save their babies’ lives.
- Please go to http://www.savethechildren.org/1000-days and sign a petition to help mothers around the world get more support around breastfeeding and lifesaving nutrition for their babies.
Notice #2 – in developing worlds where formula is NOT an option, these mothers don’t have the same choices that we do and then their babies suffer and then the mother suffers. Could you imagine being a mom and knowing that because you could not feed your baby you no longer have them in your arms because they didn’t survive? I can’t imagine that and the thought alone of a mother having to makes me cry.
There are 4 barriers in developing countries that mother’s have to face when getting help with feeding their babies
1)Cultural and community pressures
2)Global health worker shortage
3)Lack of maternity legislation
4)Aggressive marketing of breast-milk substitutes
Weather you are pro breast feeding or not doesn’t matter. It is helping the mother’s with their choice of how to feed their babies. I am sure many of you can relate to not getting the support you needed at one point or another when learning to care for a baby for the first time and the feeling sucks. It makes you feel like you are failing your child, wouldn’t it be great if we could save TONS of little babies be it here or other countries just by giving moms the support they need. While in countries that formula is not an option and breastfeeding is how babies need to eat don’t you think it is important to give these moms and their babies all the support needed to make sure they can feed their babies and have them live? I do!
How do you feel about the lack of support for choices for moms? I know there are hospitals that are probreastfeeding that shove it in your face and there are hospitals that are proformula and shove that in your face, wouldn’t it be nice to have it so hospitals supported moms no matter what they choose?
Disclosure: I am a part of the Global Team of 200 and Social Good Moms‘ 24-Hour Blogathon spreading the word about Save the Children’s new breastfeeding report, Superfood for Babies. Sign the petition urging Secretary Kerry to help mothers around the world get more support around breastfeeding and lifesaving nutrition for their babies.